Growing up I had a lot of trouble distancing myself from other people's problems. I had every aspect of the Savior Complex embedded in my cells. It was this natural-born Savior Complex which resulted in a lot of drama in my life.
People who play the Victim Role in life come with a bag full of drama and they love to dump this drama on others, willingly or unwillingly. The minute I would meet somebody who looked sad and burdened, I would become their friend instantly and share their pains, struggles, and sufferings. I would make sure I was their lifeline and was always there to speak with them over the phone or in person.
From Savior to Victim...
I had a friend in primary school who was overweight and who was made fun of a lot. Since nobody liked her, I took it upon myself to become her friend and give her love and attention. The funny thing was that she instantly became a burden in my life; she needed me constantly and would throw tantrums if I did not give her the love and attention that she wanted.
I spent one year being her personal slave. I helped her with trouble at home and at school, explained basic social skills to her, and taught her how to dress better and act more "normal" by our every-day standards. By the end of the year, I was completely drained, depressed, and really frustrated.
It took everything in my power to finally confess to her that I could no longer be her friend because it was a win-lose situation. She was gaining energy and power and I was losing energy and power. I realized that my Savior Complex was not the solution to helping others: it was a great way to put myself in a bad spot and make me unhappy.
I decided then and there to cancel and delete that program forever. Needless to say, that friend vanished from my life the minute I stopped enabling her Victim Role and playing the Savior.
What Is The Art of Detachment?
It took me a few more years to understand what the art of detachment was. I learned by trial and error. Sometimes I fell back in to my old Savior Complex role but quickly untangled myself.
The main questions that I kept asking myself as a teenager and young adult were:
How do I help others without getting caught up in their personal drama, dark energies, and roller-coaster emotions?
How can I assist others and make their lives better without making my life worse?
1. Listen, Advise, and Switch Focus
A psychologist friend of mine helped me with this dilemma when I was 21 years old. She explained to me that she met many troubled and depressed people daily and that the only way she could truly help them was to listen to their problems, offer honest and good advice, then go home and switch her attention.
"If you come home and rethink about all the terrible stories you hear in your office, you will make yourself sick and will not be able to work anymore helping others," she told me. "The trick is you must be present in the moment with them, offer them your best advice, then move on to other tasks in your life. You will not help anybody if you lose sleep over their demons."
I began to practice what she taught me and saw the positive effects in my life. I listened attentively to my friends and surrounded them with my light and love. I would offer them good advice from the heart and from my intuitions. When we would part ways, I would imagine a giant magic eraser erasing their problems from my mind and spirit.
At first I felt guilty about not thinking about their problems at home like I used to, but with practice I realized this was a logical and practical approach to being there for others, all the while not getting trapped in their dramas.
2. Create a Healthy Distance
After you begin to practice the art of listening, advising from the heart, and erasing a person's drama from your personal sphere, the next step is to create a healthy distance between the person you want to help and yourself. I do not mean to push your friend away and answer her calls randomly. I mean that when you feel tired or low on energy, you simply tell your friend you are unavailable to speak with him or her that day and reschedule another time.
Healthy distance means that you do not feel overwhelmed or invaded by another person's troubles. It can be in the physical sense or the spiritual sense. If Reiki works over long distances, the opposite is true too: we can become invaded by somebody else's troubles and dark energies and suddenly life can become a lot more dramatic.
Healthy distance also means that you can decide to see somebody less in the physical realm and spend more time with them over the phone or in email discussions. Presently I have a friend who suffers from severe depression. Every time I would see this friend, I would come home feeling a lot heavier than before our meeting. Our discussions would leave me feeling down rather than up. Despite all the good advice I would give him, he would always fall back into his old bad habits of drinking, going to bars, feeling sorry for himself, and being broke. His life was one big sorry moment after another.
One day I decided to stop seeing this friend in the physical world. I realized I was losing energy again and I had to make a fast decision. I finally decided to remain friends but at a distance. We occasionally speak over the phone or through emails. I listen patiently and speak from the heart, repeat to him the same advice I have for years, then move on with my day. Surrounded by positive vibrations at home, I feel I can still help him when he feels alone in the world. Rather than completely dropping out of his life, I have chosen to stick around and continue shining my light, over the phone or through email.
3. Know When to Walk Away
Unfortunately, there are people in this world who do not really want to change themselves. They want to continue playing the Victim as was the case of my primary school girlfriend. These people will attach themselves to healthy happy people and will suck their happy vibes with great vigor. It is important to know when to walk away from such people. Listen to your heart for guidance. Ask yourself, Is this person benefiting from my support and making conscious efforts to evolve? Or is this person just in need of a free weekly therapist rather than paying for one?
It is hard to walk away from people who are having a hard time, I grant you that. It takes a lot of courage and self-love to pick up your things, wish somebody the best, and walk off stage without looking back. In some cases, however, this action will push the person to really make that long-needed change. They will feel abandoned and lost, confused and disoriented, and suddenly they will feel the strong urge to do something new and become someone better. They might even heal their Victim Complex!
Detachment is Not About Being Cold and Distant
The reality is that detachment is not an easy state to obtain. Detachment is not about being cold and distant. Quite the opposite! It is about being warm and present to what is best for everyone in the picture. Drowning with others is not the way to help others.
(If you want to share some stories with me about detachment, please feel free to write to me at noracaron @ gmail.com. I shall be happy to exchange with you!)
Subtitles by InnerSelf
©2015 by Nora Caron.
Book by this Author
Journey to the Heart: New Dimensions Trilogy, Book 1
by Nora Caron.
Watch the book trailer: Journey to the Heart - Book Trailer
About the Author
Nora Caron has a Masters degree in English Renaissance literature and speaks four languages. After struggling through the academic system, she realized that her true calling was to help people live from their hearts and explore the world through the eyes of their spirit. Nora has studied with various spiritual teachers and healers since 2003 and she practices Energy Medicine as well as Tai Chi and Qi Gong. In September 2014, her book "Journey to the Heart", received the Living Now Book Award Silver Medal for Best Inspirational Fiction. Visit her website at: www.noracaron.com
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Other books in the trilogy: